Safe and Secure Online Casinos
Safety and security are among the biggest concerns for online gamblers. With generous welcome bonuses and promotions constantly on offer, it can sometimes be easy to lose yourself in the excitement, and forget how to safely behave at an online casino. This page will reiterate this message of safety in the gambling world, and detail what constitutes a safe and secure online casino.
As a preliminary note, know that any casino recommended on our site is licensed by the UKGC, ensuring all of our users protection and fairness as they gamble online. It’s not as interesting as a round of poker, but it’s important to know the ins and outs of what makes online casino sites trustworthy.
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What are the Qualities of a Safe and Secure Online Casino?
We all want to gamble responsibly at a safe and secure online casino, but what does this actually mean? Licensed online casinos engage in a continuous process of proving their safety to regulators, which involves a number of different checks and barriers. Below we go into more detail about what this process involves.
Any casino that doesn’t hold an appropriate licence is an immediate red flag to online gamblers. Punters should never place a bet at a gambling site that doesn’t have a licence, as only licensed sites are guaranteed to offer users a fair, safe and legal gambling experience. Being granted an online gambling licence is proof that a casino upholds the standards of the industry, along with offering its users protection against hacks and other online threats.
2. Regular Audits
Online gambling operators are required to have regular external audit checks by independent regulators, such as eCOGRA, to make sure everything is as it should be. These audits usually take a close look at the financial records of a casino, but also involve running tests on gambling software to ensure fair play for gamblers. These audits take place throughout the year, either on a monthly or quarterly basis.
3. Security and Encryption
Online casinos deploy state-of-the-art encryption technology that protects both personal user information––such as names and addresses––and sensitive financial details. When you make a transaction at a safe and secure online casino, you can rest assured that your information is protected against hackers, fraudsters, and any other malicious threats. If there is ever a breach of your personal data at a fully-regulated casino, you’ll be insured against any losses.
4. RNG Protections
Random number generators (RNG) are the mechanisms by which casino games deliver fair and trusted results to gamblers. RNG technology is regularly tested to show that return to player (RTP) percentages are maintained at the advertised level, and that gamblers aren’t unjustly missing out on payouts. RNG checks are an important part of regular casino audits.
Software developers are also subject to regular checks by independent auditors. These checks assess security against malware attacks and whether the casino operator is running the official software on its games, as opposed to pirated software. The biggest auditor in this space is e-Commerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA), which also issues testing and certification for RNG and RTP technology.
Gambling laws aren’t universal, and countries are free to choose how they wish to regulate the industry. As a result, many countries have their own leading regulators to implement their legislation and advise casino operators on best practices.
In the UK, this is the job of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). Formed in 2007, the UKGC works on behalf of the government to regulate both land-based and online gambling. In order to legally practise any kind of gambling in the UK, all casino operators must first obtain a licence from the UKGC. In Malta, where many casinos base their headquarters, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) performs similar duties.
As well as each country’s individual regulators, the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) consists of representatives from gaming regulatory organisations from all over the world. The job of the IAGR is to improve the effectiveness of worldwide gaming regulations by discussing policy changes and issues, as well as being a central point of contact for government departments throughout the world.
Game auditors like eCOGRA work to ensure fair gaming, player protection, and responsible conduct by operators and software providers. When you see a casino game with the eCOGRA stamp of approval, as well as a gambling licence, know that you can gamble with confidence at that casino site.
Reassuringly, eCOGRA was co-founded by game developing giants Microgaming in 2003, and the two organisations continue to work together to provide casino players with the best, safest, and most enjoyable casino experience. eCOGRA will spend months preparing for an online casino’s auditing process, before undertaking a thorough review of policy, procedure, and the testing of casino games.
Other significant casino game auditors include iTech Labs––which performs similar duties to eCOGRA––and Gaming Laboratories International (GLI), one of the biggest casino game auditors around. Founded in 1989, GLI specialises in games testing and certification, and can be considered a pioneer in independent casino testing services.
These three game auditors, and many others, endeavour to make online casinos safe and secure, working with hundreds of operators around the world. When you see a game has been approved by any of these auditors, you know you’re in good hands.
Know Your Customer
Know Your Customer (KYC) checks are the process of identifying and verifying customers to ensure they are protected against fraud. In the gambling industry, KYC checks also insulate punters from problem gambling – for example, GAMSTOP, a service that helps restrict online gambling activities, leverages KYC requirements to ensure self-excluded players aren’t given access to licensed sites.
Thanks to the UKGC’s regulations, KYC checks are mandatory on both deposits and withdrawals, making all licensed online casinos in the UK safe and secure.
Tips for Staying Safe with Online Casinos
Gambling is not without its pitfalls, and as an affiliate in the industry, we take our role in it very seriously. We understand that responsible gambling goes beyond betting and playing at licensed casinos, and that problems can quickly arise when players aren’t made aware of inherent gambling dangers.
To protect yourself further at online casinos, make sure you’re always betting with a sound and clear mind, and that you resist the urge to chase your losses.
Beyond this, getting the most out of your bets will involve avoiding markets and games that you’re unfamiliar with, as well as making sure you always read the terms and conditions of welcome bonuses and promotions.
If you’re interested in sports betting, never underestimate the value of your own research before you decide to place a wager. There are hundreds of sites that offer advice on sports betting, but they’re never as good as your own personal research. Before you put your money down, have a look at the form of the teams and players in question.
Finally, if you think that you, or someone you know, has issues with problem gambling, here’s a list of friendly, professional organisations that can help.